The life of Bezos, the richest man who was disliked

There is a group of people that want to expel Bezos from the ball and keep him in space forever.

There is a group of people that want to expel Bezos from the ball, so that he can stay in space forever.

Recently, the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man, Bezos, announced that he is going to space. According to the plan, he will travel to space on July 20 in a spacecraft developed by Blue Origin.

After the announcement, two petitions with the theme of “Don’t let Bezos return to Earth” appeared online, asking Bezos not to return to Earth after going to space. As of the afternoon of June 24, the combined number of people on the two petitions exceeded 130,000. One of the initiators, Jose Ortiz, said in the petition that Bezos is a “big evil, super villain who wants to conquer the world,” only disguised as the founder of an e-commerce company. This is the only way to get him off the planet.

The life of Bezos, the richest man who was disliked

“Don’t Bring Bezos Back to Earth” Petition
Musk and Bezos are the twin stars of American commercial spaceflight, two tycoons who have invested real money to take commercial spaceflight to a new level. While Musk’s reputation is now tarnished by his dog coin, it is Bezos who has long been seen as the quintessential villain of tech.

On two major forums, Reddit and Quora, they have firmly pigeonholed Bezos as the antithesis of humanity, branding him as an evil capitalist who exploits workers. They say Musk is great and wants to change the planet. They say Bezos is evil and refuse to let him back on Earth.

If one carefully reviews Bezos’ business decisions, they may not make the most sense in the moment, but they are often the most effective in the long run (AWS, Kindle, Prime). He cares less about what others think, and less about potential harm, and more about making his vision come to fruition. He is a darling to investors, but clearly not a hero to the American people.

“Amazon, betraying the workers”
Amazon has an internal philosophy known as “Jeffisms,” the most important of which is that the customer comes first. By extension, Bezos emphasizes low prices, ease of delivery, and unlimited choice.

Such an ideal picture is accomplished by countless blue-collar Amazon workers together. But in Bezos’ plan, there is not much room left for Amazon’s own workers. The contrast between the working conditions of Amazon workers and the way they treat customers is stark.

Internally, Bezos is not as hot-tempered as Musk, moving to midnight meetings and calling the people around him dumb. But he is always in a state of extreme rationality, constantly challenging and squeezing the limits of employees. An Amazon employee once said, “If you do not perform well, Bezos will tear you to pieces. If you’re doing well, he’ll let you do it until you get down.”

Many people believe that Amazon is still employing workers simply because the machine still can not replace them.

And as they wait to be replaced by machines, the company is actually asking about as much of them as robots. In Amazon warehouses, every step of a worker’s action is guided by software that uses the most advanced and efficient algorithms to constrain every movement of the worker to pick up goods from the shelves and then put them on the appropriate conveyor belt as fast as possible.

The life of Bezos, the richest man who was disliked

Photo: CFP
Amazon’s business surged during the outbreak, and in response to such demand, Amazon recalled employees to its warehouses at full capacity in an almost assertive manner. Last October, the media counted more than 19,000 Amazon employees infected with the new crown as a result of returning to work.

And back in July, employees at the New York warehouse were already planning to jointly sue Amazon for ignoring employee health. To get the job done, employees may not even have time to wash their hands and disinfect; but if they don’t get the job done, they will have their wages docked.

The company also does not care about its employees once they are infected with a new crown. The New York Times reported that Alberto, an Amazon employee in New York City, has been working at an Amazon warehouse for five years. Last September, he received an email notice from the company asking him to return to work on October 1 and take charge of the night shift. But in fact, by that time he had already gotten a serious brain injury from returning to work and contracting a new crown.

From the perspective of a company, being able to return to normal production as soon as possible during an epidemic is indeed a matter of life and death. But once human lives have to be put at risk, many people are deterred. Apparently, Bezos did not.

And, even if you can earn money, Amazon is also difficult to achieve the “first rich to drive the next rich”, pull the local economy of the beautiful vision. 2 years ago, Amazon in the preparation of the second headquarters, hundreds of North American cities threw an olive branch, from the later shortlisted cities, all provide a rich package of tax breaks and various preferential conditions.

Of course, Amazon’s presence provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and also provides excellent service to consumers. But opponents argue that the salaries of these warehouse workers and distribution teams remain pushed into a low range and struggle to provide long-term, decent-paying jobs. Amazon’s new headquarters will not boost the local economy and growth, but will instead become an enlarged version of a delivery center, consuming local services and increasing competition for real estate.

Bezos is the logical outlet when people want to voice their discontent with this behemoth. Squeezing his employees and becoming the richest man in the world, Bezos perfectly fits the most evil imaginings of capitalists by working people on Reddit.

In “All in a Row: Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” author Ladd Stone says that Amazon’s values are Bezos’ values, and that it all comes from Bezos himself.

He has a famous slogan, “Always Day One”. Amazon operates like a startup, in an atmosphere of high expectations and constant performance reviews, leading some employees to seem to “live in perpetual fear”.

It’s a company culture that has developed in a difficult environment after Amazon’s long history of low-profit operations and the bursting of the dot-com bubble in the millennium.

“He won’t pay taxes, and he won’t give money.”
The use of charitable donations as a “ransom note” for one’s vast wealth is a tradition among American tycoons and a method of tax avoidance. Like his predecessors, Bezos apparently doesn’t like to pay taxes, but he doesn’t like to donate either.

In the case of Amazon, they generally reduce taxes by controlling the company’s profitability. In the early days, Amazon massively rolled out delivery centers, with huge expenses holding operating profits steady in the negative.

Although Amazon later reached agreements with many states on the payment of sales taxes, Bezos has been cursing this for a long time. 2008 at a shareholders meeting Bezos has said: “In fact, we do not get a little benefit from any of the services provided by the states, so it is not fair that we are responsible for local tax authorities. “

This is naturally looking for a scolding, opponents said, Amazon’s warehousing and delivery, relying on the most basic infrastructure such as electricity and roads, which are to be paid for by sales tax. “Walmart, as well as local small businesses, have dutifully paid sales tax as well, so how is it unfair to charge you Bezos?”

The life of Bezos, the richest man who was disliked

Bezos Photo: CFP
In terms of absolute numbers, Bezos’ personal tax payment figure is actually quite high. According to statistics, between 2014-2018, Bezos personally reported income of $4.2 billion, for which he paid $970 million in taxes. It exceeds Warren Buffett (who paid $23.7 million in taxes) and Musk ($455 million) in the same period.

But if you compare the value, Bezos’ wealth grew close to $100 billion over the years, far more than his other wealthy peers, and at that figure, the effective tax rate is less than 1%. This figure is particularly solid in the case of Bezos, who is steadily ranked No. 1 in terms of value.

According to the U.S. news site ProPublica, Bezos did not pay any federal personal income taxes in both 2007 and 2011.

In 2007, when Amazon shares doubled in value, Bezos’ personal worth lifted by $3.8 billion. But when Bezos and his ex-wife McKenzie filed a joint tax return that year, they reported only $46 million in income, which came from interest and dividends on outside investments. On the other end, Bezos offset all the income with interest payments on debt, “other expenses” and other investment losses, avoiding every bit of tax.

The same operation was replicated in 2011, when Bezos claimed that his investment losses exceeded his income on his tax returns, and not only did he not pay a penny himself, but he even claimed tax credits for his children on the grounds that he had “lost money”. In the same year, Bezos’ value had come to $18 billion.

Now Bezos is worth nearly $200 billion, but people still can’t wait for the “make a lot of money – avoid big taxes – donate your family” required action. All that seems to be left in his mind, besides Amazon, is space tourism, which is still a rich man’s game.

In fact, Bezos has never been too keen on giving money to charity. Looking at past donation records, Bezos has so far donated only $146 million to support charitable causes, an amount that accounts for less than 1% of his total wealth.

Although the same do not pay much tax, but other wealthy counterparts are obviously more willing to donate money, Bill Gates and his wife are worth $ 96 billion, the proportion of charitable donations up to 37%. Warren Buffett’s charitable giving ratio reached 36%, and Bloomberg’s donation ratio also had 13%.

Perhaps Bezos has his ex-wife, Mackenzie Scott, to thank for following the example of their wealthy predecessors and allowing some of the wealth to flow back into society.

After her 2019 divorce, Mackenzie received a 4 percent stake in Amazon and a net worth of more than $59 billion, making her a leap forward as a wealthy woman. And she started “spreading money” after her divorce, announcing in July 2020 that she had donated $1.7 billion to black colleges and universities and other groups. Last December, Scott announced that she had donated another $4.2 billion to hundreds of organizations.

On June 16, she again announced to the public that she had donated more than $2.7 billion to hundreds of groups so far this year, meaning that Scott completed her third donation in less than a year, bringing the total to $8.6 billion.

Looking back at ex-husband Bezos, the pursuit of space is no longer just a childhood dream for him. With his usual persistence and even stubbornness, Bezos has been wishful thinking about space as a philanthropic cause as well.

“Screw your space dreams”

Fifty years ago, the Apollo moon landing program planted the space dream for an entire generation of Americans, among them Bezos and Musk. Bezos, who has been obsessed with rockets and space since childhood, said in an interview with the Miami Herald as early as his high school graduation in 1982 that he wanted to build space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for the 2 or 3 million people in orbit.

After the great success of Amazon, he also saw his space company Blue Origin as a key step to continue his personal legend. For this reason Bezos sells $1 billion of Amazon’s stock every year to blood Blue Origin.

The life of Bezos, the richest man who was disliked

Photo: Blue Origin
But while Musk is clamoring to go to Mars, Bezos still has his heart set on Earth. “I’m not into Plan B, looking for the next landing spot outside of Earth. Trust me, Earth is the best.” Bezos’ space dream is not to become an astronaut, but to colonize space and let millions of people work and live in space while flying around the Earth.

As the saying goes, “the only way to save the Earth is to leave it”, all the heavy industries will one day be moved to space, and the Earth will become a clean slate, a wetland park that can be reserved for walking.

Let’s put aside the feasibility, after all, this “way to protect the Earth by polluting space”, the concept of how to listen to a little twisted. But this very futuristic, even science fictional dream and Bezos is self-consistent.

He stressed long-term thinking, such as in Amazon, the company, emphasizing the potential value of technology investment and future investment, depressing the current profitability of the company; in the face of years of losses and analysts do not move; Bezos said that other companies are thinking quarterly, but he wants to do the next few years of planning in advance.

The life of Bezos, the richest man who was disliked

Photo: CFP
This futurism is also concentrated in a famous and grotesque project – 10000 Year Clock. According to the plan, the clock will be 152 meters high when completed, can run for 10,000 years.

Among them, the clock all kinetic energy from the temperature generator, outside the cave and the temperature difference inside the cave can support the clock’s moment rotation, and even through the “solar synchronizer” (solar synchronizer) to automatically adjust the error.

It is difficult to say what use the clock can go 10,000 years, but Bezos from 2011 began to fund the construction of the clock, has been smashed down tens of millions of dollars.

Maybe it’s because Reddit users haven’t reached the heights of billionaires, and the difference in the landscape makes them unable to buy into this futurism. While Bezos talks about futurism, the netizens just want to pursue a question of the moment.

Bezos said: The Perpetual Clock is a special clock that symbolizes mankind’s thinking about the long-term future.

The netizens’ tirade was: “Where are your taxes? Where’s your donation? $20 billion would solve all the homeless problems in the U.S. You have all the money in the world, why do you just refuse to pay it?”

Of course there is no answer to this, the problem of wealth inequality is confusing and complex, of course, not to divide $20 billion can “cure the disease”. Bezos, who has become the richest man in the technology industry, may be able to use technology to solve the problem of space, but also difficult to use technology to solve the problem of poverty.

As a result, they questioned Bezos but could not get an answer, and they saw that Bezos was about to go to space. So, they shout: go ahead, go follow your space dream, go to space simply do not come back.

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